Google Glasses: Reality Or Sci-Fi?
Wow, what will Google (or Apple) do next? Well, Google just released a video called "Project Glass". See it first before reading the rest of the article.
This is just a "concept" video - in other words, it's a vision of what can be built in the future, rather than something that's already available at your local Wal-mart! This technology is called "augmented reality" and is something you can be sure will be part of your life when you grow up.
"Augmented" reality refers to technology that adds to (or augments) your real-world view with computer-generated text, graphics, video or audio. This is different from virtual reality, where your real-world view is completely replaced by a computer-generated view.
One famous example of augmented reality is Superbowl TV broadcasts, where the yellow "first down" line is actually generated by a computer for the TV audience, and is not really there on the ground. Another example is mobile phone apps that allow you to take a picture of products in a store, and automatically bring up information and prices about that product on your mobile phone.
Google's Glasses - how will it work?
Imagine a computer on your glasses that knows exactly where you are (using a GPS), and exactly where you're looking. The computer on your glasses is talking to a powerful server computer through wireless Internet. If you're looking at a street, the computer sends the GPS location to the server, downloads the street name (Madison Avenue, say). Then it displays the name on the transparent glasses in front of your eyes!
In the future, it may even be able to recognize the people you are looking at by comparing with millions of pictures of people who live in the city, and tell you about them. Some of this can be spooky, and a violation of privacy, but in other cases, it helps jog your memory about people you may have met in your past.
As you read in the Youngzine article on Siri, Apple's "iPhone personal assistant", there is now technology that can understand short sentences that you speak, and can answer you back, or act on what you say. For example, when you're looking at a poster for a Broadway show, you can tell your glasses "Get me balcony seats to this show", and voila, tickets will be waiting for you at the door!
Is this for real? Yes and no. To get to what you saw on the video above, it will take many years. But, many parts of the technology are already in place - such as Apple's Siri, or being able to display a few lines of text on transparent eye glasses. Who knows -- by the time you graduate from college, these "smart eyeglasses" will probably become quite common, and make quite a fashion statement!
Scary? Exciting? Boring? What do you think are the pros and cons if this were to become real?